IBM to Wire S.F. State University with Unified Collaboration, E-mail, Web Conferencing

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SAN FRANCISCO - 02 Feb 2005: San Francisco State University and IBM have signed a $2.3 million agreement to upgrade the University's communication technologies, bringing unified e-mail, calendaring, group collaboration and Web conferencing to students, faculty and staff.

For the first time, SFSU will have these capabilities, offered by IBM's new open-standards based Workplace Collaboration Services on a secure, highly available IBM eServer pSeries hardware infrastructure.

"With IBM's unified solution, we can deliver a broad range of secure communications applications and services on a scale unmatched at any other public university," said Jonathan Rood, SFSU associate vice president for information technology. "By providing a single portal into the essential daily activities of our diverse population, we will dramatically simplify communication, increase campus productivity, and foster efficiency by reducing and consolidating numerous legacy systems."

Once the portal is launched, the entire SFSU community will be able to maximize the University's investments in technology to collaborate, communicate and work efficiently from remote locations. For example, a study group will be able to log on securely through the portal to access its customized home page. From there, students can access personalized class schedules, chat online with other students and faculty, instantly set up and host a live Web conference, and post research, ideas and questions specific to their group's focus in a customized team room. As another example, faculty will be able to post such information as dates of tests and due dates for term papers on the calendars of students in their classes. Students' class schedules will automatically be posted on their calendars after registering for classes using SFSU's online or touchtone registration.

SFSU has long been interested in establishing customized online portals and collaboration solutions for its nearly 29,000 students, 3,000 faculty and staff, and 18,000 additional users. The majority of SFSU students are urban commuters leading busy lives, often juggling school and job and family responsibilities.

SFSU students, faculty and staff will benefit from a new communications environment that includes: IBM Workplace software for e-mail, instant messaging, document management and team collaboration; Tivoli software to centrally administer thousands of users, including access, setup and updates as well as provisioning computing resources on demand; WebSphere Portal software to provide a single point of personalized interaction with people, applications and content; and built-in, server-managed security.

This year the University is engaged in design and development, with a pilot environment planned to be launched later in the year. The full suite of services will be deployed incrementally over the next three years.

Students, faculty, staff and other SFSU users will have access to all of the IBM tools at no cost to them. IBM's focus on customizing its Workplace platform for higher education, coupled with its technology accessibility for those with disabilities, were key selection criteria for the University.

One of the largest campuses in the California State University system, SFSU was founded in 1899 and today is a highly diverse, comprehensive, public, urban university.

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